Peugeot is reinventing itself again, announcing integrated mobility projects exploiting the brand’s presence in the scooter and bicycle markets as well as in the automotive market. This hints at a future repositioning of the brand which, without aspirations of competing in the premium arena, will nonetheless bring content that will raise it above the homogeneous mass of the purely functional high volume segment.
Most importantly, the French brand is embarking on a radical new course and breaking away from the language used for the past ten years, with its distinctive gaping mouths. It all started with the 407, with a face boldly defined by an oval grille, which gradually appeared on all the other models in the range and grew disproportionately over the years to reach caricaturised proportions.
The brand had become stuck in a rut and needed to find a way out. And that is exactly what the new chiefs of the Vélizy design centre – namely Jean-Pierre Ploué, head of the entire PSA group since last year, and Gilles Vidal, the newly appointed head of design for the Peugeot brand – set out to do.
Their manifesto, appearing publicly for the first time at Geneva, is called the SR1, and introduces the guidelines for the brand’s future models in an attractive roadster format. Its forms are somehow evocative of the past and, specifically, of Peugeots with Italian styling, from the 504 to the 406 Coupé. Yet the feline image at the basis of almost everything the French marque has created in recent times has not been abandoned, but reinterpreted in a “techno” key, where the sense of dynamism is expressed in the treatment of the surfaces rather than in their sculpted forms.
The article continues in Auto & Design no. 181